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What is a CISI qualification?

A CISI qualification is a qualification accredited by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. Whilst CISI does not offer the training themselves (they are the examining body) they award accredited training provider status to training providers that are proven to deliver quality training to prepare professionals to sit the CISI examinations.

CISI qualifications are globally recognised by major banks as well as financial institutions and they are an excellent way to prove your knowledge and competency in various fields relating to finance securities and investments.

CISI Qualifications Levels

CISI qualifications are available at various levels (note that some of these levels differ depending on whether you are studying the UK qualifications framework or the EU qualifications framework)

  • Level 2 and 3 foundational examinations (in fields such as financial planning and compliance/risk)
  • Level 3 and 4 qualifying level examinations (such as global finance compliance)
  • Level 5 advanced level (such as the Advanced Certificate in Global Securities Operations)
  • Level 6 and 7 postgraduate professional level qualifications

CISI Qualification Salary

The average salary for those with a CISI qualification varies, depending on your field and your level. Chartered and certified accountants earn an average annual salary of £42,728 for both men and women. Whilst chartership is not always a requirement for director roles (for which the annual salary is £105,206 per year for men - not including bonuses - and £60,714 for women) you can achieve personal chartership through your CISI qualifications with CPD hours.

There are four different levels of CISI examination, from foundational to postgraduate, and these will help you as you advance your career. You can also become a member of CISI, regardless of which level of your career you are currently at, as they range from student memberships all the way up to Chartered memberships once you have achieved your personal chartership.

Top 5 highest paying finance salaries based on average annual salary for men and women:


Job Role

Financial Managers and Directors

Financial Institution Managers and Directors

Business and Financial PM Professionals

Taxation Experts

Financial Accounts Managers

Salary

£88,749

£79,311

£53,478

£53,396

£46,252


*These figures are taken from the ONS Annual Earnings Summary.

Find out more with our average salary guide

CISI or CFA?

A CISI qualification is accredited by the UK based organisation the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and offers accreditation in six areas relating to securities and investment: Wealth/Retail, Compliance/Risk, Operations and Capital Markets, Financial Planning and Islamic Finance. A CFA is a Chartered Financial Analyst qualification accredited by the American based organisation CFA Institute. Like CISI, the CFA is a globally recognised association, made up of professional members from within the financial industry.

The curriculum between a CFA and a CISI qualification differs. You can find more information about the CFA curriculum here and see what this learner has to say about completing both here (quote below):

"I passed all 3 CISI CWM Level 7 exams and after passing the first CISI exam I decided to do the CFA too. As CISI exams are every 6 months (can also take all 3 exams in one go if you wanted to) you can finish the program a lot quicker than CFA. Personally I found it a big help going in to the CFA having doing CISI... CISI is a narrative exam and the questions are real-life situations." 

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